A Ukrainian Prosecutor’s Office initiated a criminal investigation against two officials of the Mariupol Museum. According to the Prosecutor’s Office Press Service, the case was opened to investigate the export of 52 paintings belonging to the Simferopol Art Museum back to Crimea, TASS reported on September 7.
“The Prosecutor’s Office of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea is performing a criminal procedure into an act constituting an offense under Article 191, paragraph 5c, of the Criminal Code of Ukraine against officials who acquired 52 paintings of the state-owned part of the Museum Collection of Ukraine,” the Press Service told journalists. Also, according to the Press Service, “the third perpetrator under the investigation is currently in Crimea,” and he is suspected of complicity in the crime. The officials of the Mariupol Museum are accused of having allowed 52 paintings of the Simferopol Art Museum to be returned to Crimea in 2014. According to article 191 of the Criminal Code of Ukraine, such “embezzlement” can be punished by up to 12 years in prison.
The subject of the case is a number of paintings by 18th and the 19th century painters from the Simferopol Art Museum. In early 2014, according to the exhibition plan, they were brought from Crimea to Mariupol for an exhibition Russian and Ukrainian Art of Late 18th through Early 20th Centuries, but they were returned to their home museum in Simferopol before the scheduled time. That was the only way to avoid their illegal hostile seizure by the Ukrainian authorities.
Source: Rossa Primavera News Agency